Anyone who has ever joined a peer-to-peer network on the Internet is at high risk of downloading illegal material that can land them behind bars for a very long time.
No matter how innocent the intent, these file-sharing networks often run afoul of the law regarding the dissemination of child pornography. Moreover, these files often appear perfectly benign due to intentional mislabeling. It can be entirely possible to download a set of illegal child porn images without ever knowing what the files contain.
Perhaps you wanted to download all of the Harry Potter books onto your Kindle or tablet. You sign onto the P2P network and begin the download. But often these files are embedded with viruses and Trojans that can slow your device’s operating speed to a crawl. Suddenly, it’s no longer working, so you take it in for repair.
The computer technician checking your device has access to the hard drive, and instead of seeing the saga of the students matriculating at Hogwarts, he or she sees images of hardcore pornography involving children.
The next thing you know, the FBI and local law enforcement will come knocking at your door, warrants in hand.
Could you talk your way out of an arrest under those circumstances? It is extremely unlikely. It is not the job of law enforcement to decide a defendant’s innocence or guilt, only to arrest them for probable cause.
When you consider how easy it is to get arrested for something as potentially devastating as possession or distribution of child pornography, it is cause for alarm. But by now, the damage has been done.
When it is time for some serious damage control, consider consulting with a New Jersey criminal defense attorney.
Source: The Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Risks of Peer-to-Peer Systems,” accessed July 24, 2015